Chicago Cubs 2020 Midseason Top 30 Prospects Update
To see every team's Top 30 prospects list, click here.
STATE OF THE SYSTEM
Slowly but surely, the Cubs are creeping back up the rankings. Breakout seasons in 2019 from LHP Brailyn Marquez and OF Brennen Davis helped the Cubs jump from No. 28 to No. 21 in BA’s Organizational Rankings entering the season. The 2020 season was going to be huge for many Cubs prospects in their first full seasons and could have made a big difference in the team’s ranking after the year. Instead, many of their young players at the lower levels will have to scrap for any kind of development they can get in 2020 and hope for the best in 2021.
1. Brailyn Marquez, LHP
One of the hardest throwers in the game, Marquez regularly gets his fastball into the triple-digits. He couples the pitch with a nasty slider and a potentially average changeup. His big body and long limbs add plenty of variability, but he has a very high ceiling.
2. Nico Hoerner, 2B/SS
Even with a broken hand, Hoerner managed to make his big league debut in his first full season as a pro. He has defensive versatility and can play either up-the-middle position, but he’s a hitter first and foremost.
3. Brennen Davis, OF
The Cubs bet on Davis’ high-end tools beginning to shine once he ditched basketball and fully focused on baseball. They were right. Davis had a tremendous first full season as a pro and was one of the few lower-level players to be included in the Cubs’ player pool.
4. Miguel Amaya, C
Amaya’s 2019 numbers might not jump off the page, but he spent the entire season in pitcher-friendly Myrtle Beach and then impressed scouts with his acumen on both sides of the ball in the Arizona Fall League. He was included in Chicago’s 60-man player pool.
5. Chase Strumpf, 2B/SS
Like Nico Hoerner, Strumpf came with plenty of pedigree as a Pacific-12 Conference middle infielder with a well-polished bat. He showed well in his first taste of pro ball and made it to low Class A before an injury ended his season.
6. Ed Howard IV, SS
Howard was one of the most polished shortstops available in the class, especially for a player from a cold-weather state. The Cubs had enough history with Howard to believe in the potential of his bat. He had excellent exit velocities as an amateur and showed the potential for above-average or better power as he develops.
7. Cole Roederer, OF
Roederer had a rough first full season as a pro. He showed a tendency to try to pull pitches instead of spraying line drives to all sectors. Pitchers in the Midwest League also found holes in his swing. In a normal 2020, Roederer would have been working to show he’d adjusted to the competition.
8. Ryan Jensen, RHP
Jensen was seen as somewhat of an off-the-board pick as the Cubs’ 2019 first-round selection, though the Cubs were intrigued by his combination of four- and two-seam fastballs. The 2020 season would have been huge for his development.
9. Ethan Hearn, C
A powerfully built prep catcher out of Alabama, Hearn was lauded for his combination of power potential and defensive prowess. He got his feet wet in the Rookie-level Arizona League in 2019 and could have begun to show the potential that led the Cubs to give him the highest bonus for a sixth-round selection in either 2018 or 2019.
10. Riley Thompson, RHP
After beginning his collegiate career in the bullpen, Thompson has made enough strides as a starter to show the makings of a four-pitch mix. His signature pitches are a plus fastball and a high-spin curveball. He found a grip he liked on his changeup, and has shown the ability to tunnel the pitch off of his fastball.
11. Cory Abbott, RHP
12. Burl Carraway, LHP
13. Adbert Alzolay, RHP
14. Tyson Miller, RHP
15. Kohl Franklin, RHP
16. Chris Clarke, RHP
17. Michael McAvene, RHP
18. Koen Moreno, RHP
19. Jordan Nwogu, OF
20. Edmond Americaan, OF
21. Pedro Martinez, SS/2B
22. Christopher Morel, 3B
23. Richard Gallardo, RHP
24. Kevin Made, SS
25. Ronnier Quintero, C
26. Rafael Morel, SS
27. Yohendrick Pinango, OF
28. Fabian Pertuz, SS
29. Brayan Altuve, C
30. Justin Steele, LHP
The system is absolutely flush with middle-infield prospects. From Nico Hoerner, Chase Strumpf and Ed Howard in the Top 10 to lower-ranked players like Pedro Martinez, Kevin Made, Rafael Morel, Aramis Ademan, Zack Short, Luis Verdugo and Fabian Pertuz, the Cubs will have plenty of options to choose from whenever a future need arises at shortstop or second base.
3B Christopher Morel, who was invited into the Cubs’ 60-man player pool after just 73 games at low Class A South Bend in 2019, stands as the only corner infielder among the team’s Top 30 Prospects.
PLAYER POOL TIDBITS
The Cubs didn’t include many of their lower-level talents, including 2019 high draft picks RHP Ryan Jensen, RHP Chris Clarke or RHP Michael McAvene, but they did take 3B Christopher Morel, who is eligible for this year’s Rule 5 draft. Even more intriguing was the inclusion of 26-year-old righthander RHP Juan Gamez, a 31st-round selection of the Twins out of North Dakota State in 2016 who pitched in the Mexican League last season.